Dear Rabbi Shapiro,
I graduated from high school a few years ago and I'm in college now. Sometimes, I feel like for a boy, his role is so much more defined- to learn Torah. But for me, for as long as I am not married yet, I'm not sure what my role is- as a single, frum girl. What would be considered the best use of my time? What kind of environment should I be attempting to place myself in? (For instance, what would be the ideal way that Hashem would want me to spend my summer vacation? It's questions like this that make me feel unsure as to what I'm supposed to be pursuing.)
Also, do you have any good books to recommend about Torah's perspective on dating and marriage? I have not started dating yet. I feel like am not sure with who I am and the type of person I want to marry. I think my main problem is that I don't have life goals, I don't have dreams. And it's hard to know who I am when I don't know what I'm running after in life. How does a person come to this awareness? Is there anything that you can recommend I do/read/listen to/involve myself in? Sometimes, my life just feels so confusing, and empty...and I want to know how to overcome that. What do you think makes someone ready for dating (for marriage) and how does a person get to that point?
Thank you so much.
Questions For Rabbi Shapiro
Posted 17 December 2012 - 05:21 PM
Dear Rabbi Shapiro,
Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:12 AM
Good questions. שאלת חכם חצי תשובה.
Sometimes, the less you know the more you ask questions. Other times, the more you know the more you ask questions.
It all depends on what it is you are questioning. If you see something that does not make sense, then the more you realize what does make sense, the more you will question what you see.
Your questions are of the second type. שאלת חכם חצי תשובה. It's a good thing that you don't feel "settled" in your current situation, If you would, then it would mean you do not understand your role. You are asking your question because you do understand your role and because of that, you have these questions.
The first thing is, don't ever change your attitude. As Rav Chaim Brisker used to say, "It's better to have a good question than a bad answer." And there are others in situations similar to yours who would rather be comfortable than correct and so they change their entire attitude (i.e. their Hashkafa) about their role as women, rather than remain with the questions you asked.
So the first thing you should work on is not changing that Hashkafa. Many have, and it is a Nisayon. Rav Avigdor Miller used to say that girls should get married as soon as appropriate for them, at a young age, because the further away they get from their education in Bais Yaakov affects their idealism. That idealism is a treasure and the Satan tries to steal it away from young women, and the bets opportunity he has to do that is when they come back from seminary
Your job now - and my job now as well, and all of our jobs all the time - is לעמוד בנסיון. When the Mesilas Yeshorim said this, he meant that there is no one role that we all play, and no one role that any one of us play all the time. Rather, each and every moment of our lives we are given circumstances, i.e. Nisyonos, and whatever those circumstances are at the time, responding to them in the proper way is our role. לעמוד בנסיון, whatever the Nisayon may be at any given time.
So while it is true that the role of a boy is more consistent, meaning his Nisyonos change less than a girl's does during his lifetime, a boy's role is not less well-defined. Both for a boy and a girl, their job is to respond to whatever circumstances they find themselves.
What you therefore need to do is to identify the Nisyonos in your life now, and that will tell you what your role is at this time.
Your first Nisayon is to maintain and strengthen the idealism and the Hashkafos that you acquired in school. That is not easy. Many girls have their idealism chipped away by life in the workplace
Posted 19 February 2013 - 08:45 PM
Rabbi Shapiro, thank you very much for your words of chizuk.
You mentioned that "Rav Avigdor Miller used to say that girls should get married as soon as appropriate for them, at a young age.." what exactly do you mean as soon as appropriate for them? Does this mean when a girl deems herself mature enough for marriage? Or is there specific criteria she must meet to be "ready"? In other words, how would I know when it is appropriate for me?
I certainly do feel that some of my idealism and Hashkafos has been worn away be being in college- surrounded by people whose goals don't necessarily align with mine. Do you have any practical suggestions of how a girl can strengthen her Hashkafos, when she is not in an environment that promotes Torah ideals?